Recently I had my birthday, at the age of 44 I I’ve had rather a few, some memorable some not so memorable and a few I can’t remember (all for good reasons).
My first memory of a birthday was when I reached the tender age of 5, I remember waking up to the radio and knowing I was 5, I also remember my mum giving me a cuddly toy called Miss Mouse, that much loved gift is still in my possession all be it a little worn but still cherished.
One of the problems with having a birthday in September is the fact for me as a child was not exactly brilliant, I started boarding school at the age of six and subsequent birthdays had the dark cloud of school hovering over the proceedings which left me with a kind of birthday blues feeling which has never really gone away.
I know that I’m not the only human who doesn’t have much affection for birthdays. I have had some good birthdays but most of them have generally been pretty ordinary, I didn’t have a ton of birthday parties like lots of children seem to have, actually when I attended school, other children were having their birthdays round the same time when I was asked for one I was told that if I wanted one my parents would have to pay, which was very hurtful. It felt to me at the time although I couldn’t have put it in to words unjust, and as an adult I see it as making that child feel that they were undeserving some how. One of the reasons I didn’t have a ton of birthday parties was down to the fact because I was away at school all the times I didn’t really get the chance to make friends, So it would be the small family that we had with a small celebration of sorts and at the most maybe a visit from my nan and yes the dark cloud of school hovering over.
When thinking about birthdays apart from the boarding school thing as a child why don’t I like birthdays? The thing is I’m usually quite relieved when my birthday is over. Leading up to it I can feel blue at times but afterwards I feel a genuine sense of relief .
I’ve had the odd good birthdays in the past, one of which was my 19th birthday, I was away at college and we had to start early so I was there for my birthday. I went to the student union bar to chat to people, it somehow got slipped out that it was my birthday and a group of people spontaneously sang me happy birthday, it wasn’t just a lovely birthday it was the best start of one of the happiest years of my life. I think the other one was seeing some of my relatives in Europe and I’d had a cake made I think and had some lovely gifts from my relatives including a couple of knitted cardigans.
I think one of the reasons I don’t like birthdays is that I’m not overly keen on the limelight, when someone rather overtly at work made a big deal about my birthday I didn’t like it that much, I suppose I’m so used to quiet birthdays. I think also sometimes I’ve been disappointed sometimes that things I’ve wanted to happen haven’t happened, or things have gone wrong. I remember inviting a group of people for a little party at my home in the event only one person turned up, I’ve had birthdays when things may have started off well then things go wrong, other times where something bad has happened to start off the day which overshadowed the rest of the proceedings. Either way it’s not great.
So how do I deal with the birthday blues, I remind myself that it’s only one day a year, it will pass. How I feel about birthdays is not much different to how I feel about Christmas, but like so many people I’m not alone, there are others like me. The thing is I don’t want people to worry about making my birthday “special” or feeling they haven’t done enough or whatever, even I can’t even identify what could change my point of view, I’m always grateful for well wishes, gifts and visits. It’s always tricky when people wish me a happy birthday when I’ve had a pretty lousy one too lol. As much as I don’t have much love for birthdays, I like to as far as possible to make other people feel valued on their birthday, or send good wishes to people, if I remember 🙂
Maybe I have expectations of my birthday that never materialise, it’s like a fantasy that when it comes true is never lives up to what you thought it would be, I think I have that same concept with my birthday, I’ve tried at varying times to improve my dislike of birthdays to no avail, I’ve tried organising something I might enjoy, or had a quiet day on my own, all kinds of things, but it rarely comes good.
Ultimately the best thing I can do is appreciate that there are people who do wish me to have a great birthday whatever the outcome, to know its just one day a year, I’m not the only one who feels that way, but I will feel great the following day 🙂
Apologies if my blog is more of a waffle and a little repetitive its just my thoughts pouring out today, thanks for reading, and if its your birthday reading this a very happy birthday too you!